The Power of RESPECT!

Even though I wrote this article a couple of years ago, I still face the same issues just in a different manner. I will share my current story soon but I thought I would revisit the The Power of Respect first. ~Candace

I am always speaking about the ups and downs of this journey that I’ve been on and one way to relieve my frustrations is to write, something I love to do very much.  I was speaking with a colleague recently and through my continued frustration with the wedding/event industry in Chicago, I sometimes feel that “WE” (Black Americans) get left out of certain events by not getting hired to produce high profile corporate/charity/social events, not getting invited to high profile social and bridal events, our events not posted in local magazines and newspapers after the fact, and our products are not being shown on the local news or local television shows.  My colleague said it’s not that, it’s lack of respect.  Hmm… I agree it’s lack of respect to a certain extent but I still believe based on PERSONAL EXPERIENCES race plays a major role in this. I remember telling another vendor last year that it is harder for us (Black Americans) in this industry and that we have to work harder.  She (who is not Black American) didn’t believe me, but every other Black American I speak to and have listened to speak at industry events have all expressed the same feelings and have all agreed, it is harder for “us.”  Allow ME to share a FEW of my stories:

Last year I hosted An Intimate Bridal Affair in Chicago.  I had a representative from a wedding blog well known in the Chicago wedding industry ask if she could attend the event and that she would cover the event in her blog afterwards.  So of course I gave her the okay.  A week goes by, a month goes by and now months after the event, I never saw the coverage.  I emailed this young lady and asked her what happened to the coverage and guess what, she never responded.  I still have the email conversation between she and I.  So what happened?  Towards the end of 2012, I saw that this particular blog posted a link to their blog highlighting all the wedding events they attended in 2012 and guess what An Intimate Bridal Affair was NOT mentioned.  I didn’t say anything (until now), but my frustration grew.

After I won the 2012 Biz Bash award, not one of the other event/wedding planners who ran against me said congratulations, not one, instead I heard a couple of them say mean things about me. I even saw one of my industry colleagues post on Facebook, “I guess anything’s possible.”  Really?  This particular individual and I used to be “industry” friends, so I thought, what is the REAL issue here? I attended a bridal event recently in Chicago.  When I entered the store, the ladies in front of me (who were Caucasian) were immediately greeted with smiles and direction and when this particular greeter saw me, she turned her head and said nothing.  I was like WOW still in 2012! I could have made a scene but you know what I just determined that day I will not set foot again in this particular bridal store again. My question is this: WHY should “we” stop attending wedding related events because we are made to feel uncomfortable or feel that we have to be phoney just to fit in. Hmm…

There’s this individual who I respect and admire in the wedding industry.  After I signed on someone as a client whom I met at this particular individual’s event, she stopped speaking to me.  She even went as far as asking my client how much was she paying me.  That was disrespectful.  This person who claimed to be “my friend” has not once acknowledged anything I have done since I signed that person as a client YET continues to invite me to their events that I have to pay to attend. So obviously, I have since realized I was never a friend.  One of toughest struggles I’ve had in this industry is separating personal from business, and I have learned some VALUABLE lessons from this struggle but one thing is for sure – in 2013 I AM ALL ABOUT BUSINESS. PERIOD!

These are just a few of of the many stories I could share about the lack of RESPECT I have received in this industry, but one thing is for sure I will NOT stop and I will NOT give up.  I have worked too hard to get where I am.  I have given up too much to get where I am and I have made HUGE sacrifices this past year to make all this happen. I share my story because I know I am NOT the only one who struggles with disrespect in this industry.  At the end of the day, regardless of our race, WE are all human and we all bleed the same COLOR.  I work just as hard as anyone else but the lack of respect that I receive in this industry, Chicago especially, is disheartening.  I have since realized that it’s not all race related because there are individuals, newspapers and magazines who I know who are Black American who are just as disrespectful. I know I can’t control what others do, I can only control what I do.  I’m NOT asking anyone to agree with me or like me if you don’t but I will ask that from this day forward, YOU RESPECT ME! Period.  Until next time…

6 thoughts on “The Power of RESPECT!

  1. Wow!!! My question is why are you having such a difficult time with people taking to your brand? I’ve never heard anything derogatory about you and what you do and you seem on the up and up. Or shall I say, colleagues. Not that your fan base has an issue. I would say don’t focus so much on the fact that you are an African American woman in that industry but focus on outperforming the competition and showing everyone that your success has nothing to do with who you are.

    • Hi Dean, I NEVER mentioned I’m having a difficult time with people taking to my brand. Point to me where I say that. Also, it would be hard for you to understand or relate to what I am saying because you are not active in the Chicago wedding industry and we don’t know the same people. The clique of people we know are not the ones I’m talking about. I’m not focusing on this, it was TIME for me to share my story because so many in the industry who are Black American are experiencing the same. I’m the voice, no one else will speak up. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Hello Candace.
    What a great blog post!!! Trust me you are not alone in this feeling as I receive it daily here where I am located. I am the only Black American in this business here and I have been shunned at many networking events, or I feel that people do not take me seriously. It is very bothersome, and should not be an issue here in 2013 ( the 21st Century). Being in Chicago, I would think that thing would be a little better, but I guess not. Keep your head up and keep doing what you are doing. Many blessings to you.

  3. Hi Candace,

    After reading this post my first thought is that I appreciate your candor. I know many people feel like this at times (myself included) and its not easy to say aloud or even write.

    This post makes me feel like the wedding/event planning industry is generally hostile and cut-throat. But I don’t want to diminish any of the feelings about race that you have. Its difficult when you are a minority and have to work twice as hard, to not feel a bit left behind at times.

    I personally think many people are prejudice without realizing it. It shows when these people only have friends or clientele of one race. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, we live in Chicago, a very segregated city. Anyways, it seems like you are pretty successful in spite of some of the negative people out there. I wish you the best.

    Patty

    • Hi Patty, thanks for your response. Many people of my same race that I have spoken to in the wedding industry feel the same as I, I am just not afraid to speak the truth. If you notice from all the wedding related events in Chicago, you rarely see Black Americans in photos or even invited to the “high end” events. This is FACT not FICTION. Pictures tell all.

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